The Government Class Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about The Government Class Book.

Sec.5. Patents for new inventions are obtained at the patent office at the seat of government.  This office is connected with the department of the interior. (Chap.  XLI, Sec.7.) The commissioner of patents superintends the granting of patents under the direction of the secretary of the interior.  To secure an exclusive right to an invention, the inventor must deliver to the commissioner of patents, a written description of his invention, and specify the improvement which he claims as his own discovery; and he must make oath that he believes he is the discoverer thereof.

Sec.6.  Before the petition of an inventor is considered, he must pay the sum of thirty dollars.  If the commissioner, upon examination, does not find that the invention had been before discovered, he issues a patent therefor.  Patents are granted for the term of fourteen years, and may be renewed for a further term of seven years, if the inventor has not been able to obtain a reasonable profit from his invention.

Sec.7.  Congress has power “to constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court.”  As the first section of the third article of the constitution, in providing for a national judiciary, authorizes congress to ordain and establish such inferior courts, the insertion of the power in this place seems to have been unnecessary, (Chap.  XLII, Sec.1.)

Chapter XXXVI.

Powers of Congress in relation to Piracy and Offenses against the Law of Nations; War; Marque and Reprisal, Public Defense, District of Columbia; Implied Powers.

Sec.1.  The next clause grants to congress the power “to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations.” Piracy is commonly defined to be forcible robbery or depredation upon the high seas.  But the term felony was not exactly defined by the laws of England, whence the common law of this country was derived; consequently its meaning was not the same in all the states.  It was sometimes applied to capital offenses only; at other times, to all crimes above misdemeanors.  For the sake of uniformity, the power to define these offenses is given to congress:  and as the states have no jurisdiction beyond their own limits, it is proper that congress should have the power to punish as well as define crimes committed on the high seas.

Sec.2.  Nor were offenses against the law of nations more clearly defined:  therefore the power to define these are with equal propriety given to congress.  As our citizens are regarded by foreign nations as citizens of the United States and not as citizens of their respective states; and as the general government alone is responsible to foreign nations for injuries committed on the high seas by citizens of the United States, this power is vested in congress.

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